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Putin sees Trump as "counterpart" at upcoming talks

13 July 2018

The unpredictable US president - and his angry demand that allies such as Canada increase their defence spending - was very much the focal point during this week's gathering in Brussels, with memories of last month's disastrous G7 meeting in Quebec still fresh in the minds of many.

Trump said he let countries know during this week's summit that he was "extremely unhappy".

"Dear @realDonaldTrump. US doesn't have and won't have a better ally than EU".

After a tense first day, Trump didn't ease up on the second.

Trump, who went into this week's summit trailing grievances about the US having spent decades taking up the slack for penny-pinching allies, came out of it singing NATO's praises with his usual outsized flair, calling it a "finely tuned machine" that's now "richer than it ever was".

Despite repeated US warnings that companies involved in the deal also risk being slapped with sanctions, Nord Stream 2 is scheduled for completion next year.

According to the USA leader, Germany "got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russian Federation".

Merkel's predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, a longtime friend of Putin, has championed the Nord Stream enterprise since just before being voted out of office in 2005. By the same token, China has increased its defense spending to $228 billion since 1990, but the share of GDP has barely moved. The figure is non-binding, and the goal was to reach it by 2024, not immediately.

"The clear message from President Trump is having an impact", he said.

The US president said he would be discussing Syria, the Middle East, Ukraine and nuclear proliferation. For Germany, the focus of much of Trump's criticism, that number was 6.6 percent. "There is a communique that was published yesterday".

There is a strong possibility that Poland will build a floating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal in Gdańsk, according to Fred H. Hutchison, who says "a lot of gas" can come to Central European markets this way. "It reaffirms a commitment to 2% in 2024". Trump: "The additional money that they're willing to put up has been really awesome ... And the good thing is that, very much because of that very clear message from President Trump on this meeting, I think that allies understand this need to do that", Stoltenberg said after being repeatedly asked about Trump's assertion that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members had agreed to a four-percent goal.

"And no, a joint statement is not an obligatory attribute of such meetings".

The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a "very very good relationship", their frosty body language suggested otherwise. "I'm a very stable genius".

Trump made the comments during a press conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

"The President said his meeting with the Russian leader may be the easiest" part of his European tour, with massive protests expected over his presence in London.

And, a reminder, that for all the insults thrown and the agreements threatened over the past few years, seldom has Mr Putin caught the ire of Mr Trump.

It's an uncomfortable environment for May, who is facing her own political unrest outside of Trump's visit.

Trump's trip to Britain will test the bonds of the USA and U.K.'s special relationship.

Merkel said she welcomed the chance to have an "exchange of views" with Trump.

Putin sees Trump as